D200’s John Guanci Weighs In on Lakewood TIF

The number of people worried about Lakewood’s Tax Increment Financing District’s having a negative impact on their school taxes has increased by two in the last day.

At least the number communicating to me.

Last night my wife and I were at Outback Steakhouse in Crystal Lake and I was discussing the TIF district with retired District 47 Superintendent Ron Miller.

A woman from Woodstock at the next table hear me and asked me a question about it.

I discovered that she was unhappy with the lack of action by the Woodstock School District 200 Board of Education.

Now John Guanci, who is a member of the McHenry County Ethics Commission and running unopposed for Republican Precinct Committeeman in Bull Valley, has written a plea for people to attend the next school board meeting.

You can read what he wrote below:

John Wayne.  Photo credit:  Wikipedia.

John Wayne. Photo credit: Wikipedia.

Whenever I want to feel good about life I sit down and I watch a John Wayne movie.

Maybe you share this same sense of warmth and comfort that I do when that distinct sound in his voice fills the room. It is something very special, indeed.

For a while I’ve wondered why this happens to be the case.

It’s been a genuine curiosity of mine; however, I’m glad to say that today as I type these words, I know the reason why.

Like many I enjoy“The Duke” because he stood for what was right and he did so without concern for himself and he wasn’t worried about making a mistake in the process.

Mind you he didn’t charge off in a reckless fashion thinking he was bulletproof or indestructible, but he didn’t let long odds force him to turtle-up with a meek disposition.

He applied his intellect to understanding the operational context and at resolving an injustice, one that he sensed deeply in his heart.

None of this, of course, would have been possible without his having courage.

That intangible something that allows us to stand before in the face of a challenge as uncomfortable and even scared human beings; knowing we cannot shrink from the opportunity lest we sacrifice something more valuable than being comfortable.

Merriam-Webster defines courage as the “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty; the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous.”

We live in the greatest nation on the face of the earth and we do so because we are governed by the greatest system on the face of the earth; a democratically elected compound republic.

Of course, this is only possible if our elected officials display the requisite amount of courage in any one given situation, as well.

For example, who among us thinks our nation would be on a solid ground financially if our political

leaders had the courage to address head-on the challenges which confront them and to stop kicking the can down the road?

Naturally, challenges do not just exist in far off and remote places.

No, they exist here, right in our own backyards.

Such is the case with District 200 and Lakewood’s TIF District.

Here are the facts of the matter:

  • The Village of Lakewood created a TIF District within the boundaries of School District 200 and, by doing so; Lakewood will collect the property taxes while Woodstock will pay for the education of any student from the Lakewood TIF District.
  • The Village of Lakewood, by the creation on of their TIF District will introduce 200 new students at a cost of $9,000 per student which equates $1.8million per year. To which D200 will be obligated for 23 years under state law.
  • The residents of the City of Woodstock and District 200 cannot afford the additional tax burden and have no obligation to allow more of their personal resources to be confiscated by government, especially at the local level.

Doing nothing is not an option.

The citizens of D200 deserve a Board with the courage to take action and to stand up for more than their constituents; we need Board members who will stand up for their neighbors and loved ones.

  • That said, the D200 Board has been advised by legal counsel to file suit against the Village of Lakewood and to do so prior to the deadline of January 27, 2016. Presently the D200 Board is not pursuing this option.
  • As a last attempt, ask D200 to press the Village of Lakewood for detachment-annexation procedure to take the TIF District out of D200 schools and into the school district where every other Lakewood child attends.

In order for our form of government to work it has to work at the basic level, especially those which are local and there is hardly a form of government more local than a school district.

This is why I am asking those within reach of this letter to take up the mantle of courage and to take action on behalf of those who have consented to being governed by their fellow citizens; those who were elected to office. That we be so resolved and bring pressure upon the D200 School Board to take legal action, as advised by their legal, in defense of the D200 taxpayers.

The next meeting is:

  • Date / Time: Tuesday January 26 2016 – 7:00pm
  • Location: Clay PDC 112 Grove Street, Woodstock (Second Floor – Please use parking lot behind Clay Academy and enter via Door 5)

Do attend as we need “The Duke” which resides within each of us…more now than ever before.


D200’s John Guanci Weighs In on Lakewood TIF — 9 Comments

  1. I understand that D200 gave Lakewood an ultimatum and if the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of D200 by Tuesday, a lawsuit will be filed on Jan 27.

    D200 is on top of this and have proceeded cautiously which is wise.

    We will see what happens next week.

    To say the D200 Board is doing nothing is just wrong.

  2. Woodstock D200 school board has stated intentions to sign an agreement with Lakewood tif, waiving all future rights of objection for 35 years in return for a per-student sum which falls short of parity with Woodstock taxpayers obligations of cost-per-student.

    The CPIU based inflation-adjustment clause would make teachers Union representatives (when they managed to stop laughing) leave the table until the other side got serious.
    (Woodstock D200 inflation past decade, with flat enrollment: 58%, vs 16% Chicago CPI).

    The reimbursement rate stated in contract does not reflect the per-student cost levied to Woodstock D200 taxpayers, so Woodstock taxpayers will be subsidizing wealthy Lakewood from Day One….and the amount of this direct transfer of property tax dollars to Lakewood managers will grow and grow over the next 35 years.

    Provision of Alternative Education Services which are identified in the contract as the obligation of D200, are not accorded any provisional higher payments under this contract, and Woodstock D200 is forced to waive its right to protest such an occurrence.

    For instance if a home for special needs children were established in tif, the cost per student,
    or out-of-district tuition D200 would be forced to pay, would far exceed the reimbursement per student proposed in this agreement.

    There is no protection for Woodstock D200 against the inevitable litigation a few years down the road. To the contrary, there is a “loser pays” clause.

    Now, D200 alleges that legal fees today to challenge Lakewood improper tif are too expensive.

    How expensive is it going to be to pay D200 legal fees AND Lakewood legal fees when Lakewood sues to claw back all payments (with accrued interest) because as a matter of law, Lakewood managers were not legally entitled to offer PILOTs circumventing Illinois Law as described by the tif Statute?

    There are potential solutions–changes to be made to document language, or obtaining a tolling agreement from Lakewood while Crystal Lake school districts are offered this same deal in return for an amicable detachment-annexation proceeding for all tif property within D200, or simply filing the original lawsuit in a timely way to protect the interests of Woodstock D200 citizens and continue ‘negotiations’.

    And these solutions were communicated to the school board.

    The proposed solutions were ignored, as the Intergovernmental Agreement printed in the agenda packet for the 12-26-16 meeting is the same as when FOIA’d.

    There are two lawyers on the school board.

    If they negotiated this unfavorable and sloppy deal for a client, client would be asking these very same questions:

    “why aren’t you interested in changing the language of this contract to protect me?”.

    Who is advocating for the rights of Woodstock taxpaying citizens against this improperly formed, predatory Lakewood tif, when even attorneys on our school board are not?

  3. Woodstock’s D200’s Lawyer should be writing up the contingencies NOT Lakewood Rip off artists and their Lawyer!


    There should not have been closed door meetings with Lakewood.

    Out in the open and no bullshit agreements written by the one’s who have most to lose, which is Woodstock! And it’s worse than 23 years.

    More like 35 years Woodstock will be on the hook while the golf course community of Lakewood laughs all the way to the bank!

    This is not just being a ‘bad neighbor’, it’s illegal and we should be negotiating with crooks.

    Lakewood AND Woodstock D200 would not LET one of the trustees (Paul Serwatka) be involved.


    Because they know he’s a whistleblower?

    This all looks very bad.

    If it looks, tastes, and smells bad-it almost certain IS!

  4. Love this, John Guanci.

    Well written and understood.

    The liability is more for Woodstock, as I believe it is 35 yrs.

    Hell if it were only 2 yrs.

    it would be enough to drive people out of their homes in Woodstock.

    Thank you for weighing in on this and describing the situation so people can understand what’s going on here.

    And what many DON’T know is that D200 has a BIG Bond coming due in 6 yrs. that’s going to send Woodstock to the poor house as it is!

    This will just be a more immediate liability, but this isn’t D200’s first mistake.

    We are in desperate need of elected officials that have ethics.

    Ethics or die.

  5. D200 is doing nothing to protect the families in Woodstock from a greedy hustle, other than attending private negotiations with the Village of Lakewood to accept illegal payments surrounding the TIF district THEY ALL KNOW is improper and invalid. Period.

    I won’t be wronged.

    I won’t be insulted.

    I won’t be laid a hand on.

    I don’t do these things to other people and I require the same from them. -Duke

  6. John Wayne believed one of his greatest movies “High Noon” was un-American because it portayed American men of the West as “yellow” willing to give up their land and women rather than confront the force of evil.

    He also was opposed to the ending where the Sheriff’s star was stepped on in the dirt.

    American Symbolism was important to John Wayne especially that which represented law and order,
    code of conduct and US military.

    His boat, “the Wild Goose” was adorned with military plaques and symbols, including a large American Flag.

    Also, the Duke overruled the final scene in his last movie (299) the “Shootest” because it called for
    him to shoot the pharoah card player in the back.

    Something the Duke would never do and he refused to shoot the scene until it was changed.

    The other guy always drew first and Duke always shot first because “right” always triumphs over “wrong”. (It is no coincidence that in the “Cowboys” and “Shootest” John Wayne was shot in the back).

    Part of a deeper code of the manner in which John Wayne lived his life and for the most part has been lost on recent generations.

    John Wayne was not without flaws and in fact embraced them as part of being a man.

    John Wayne despised people who did not appreciate the greatness of USA and those politicians who try and capitalize off making it weak.

    He abhored the idea of reparations for black Americans saying while their predecessors suffered, they are damn fortunate for being here and having opportunity to now share in the American dream.

    He was very “Trump” like in his view that “America is suppose to win”!

    No coincidence that John Wayne’s favorite daughter Marisa recently endorsed Trump . . .

    We have no John Wayne on the McHenry County Board especially when it comes to the theft of taxpayer
    dollars at Valley Hi to the tune of 40 Million Dollars sitting in liquid funds; instead we have a bunch of apologists and rationalists like the men in High Noon.

    For John Wayne it would simple concerning Valley Hi, You took the money when you didn’t have a right to, now give it back.

    One thing Wayne hated worse than an outlaw was lawmen or politicians in positions of public trust acting like outlaws.

    Perhaps, if the situation was such where the County Board was required to act, instead I fear they would instead coward and allow all of McHenry County to be painted “red” rathing than taking a brave stand against an obvious wrong. . . .

  7. John Wayne wasn’t in “High Noon” unless he was an uncredited extra. Gary Cooper was the star.

  8. more Lakewood BS

    one can not be careful enough when dealing with them !!!

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